x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Monkey business in the new land of Oz

Zach Braff, one of the stars of Oz the Great and Powerful, discusses his dual roles.

Finley, one of Zach Braff's characters from Oz the Great and Powerful. Moviestore / Rex Features
Finley, one of Zach Braff's characters from Oz the Great and Powerful. Moviestore / Rex Features

Tell us about the characters you play.

I play two: Frank, who plays Oscar's assistant in Kansas, and Finley, a flying monkey who Oscar meets once he arrives in Oz. Finley in particular is kind of the comic relief in the story. Oscar saves his life and he swears an oath to help him any way he can.

Was there a character you enjoyed playing more?

Well, they're both Oscar's sidekicks in some way, but I think I enjoyed Finley more because I spent more time playing him, and he's just so adorable.

What drew you to the film?

From the beginning, it was the chance to work with Sam Raimi. Like everyone, I was a huge fan of his work, and the attraction was to work with him, which turned out to be everything I hoped it would be. There's so much passion to what he does and he adds feeling to these large-scale stories. And the movie itself is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, an iconic movie everyone grew up with, and there were these great actors already involved in the cast. It was an easy decision to make.

What was the process like portraying Finley?

It was a mixture of things: sometimes I was in a booth, sometimes I worked a puppet, and sometimes I had to wear this blue onesie [a motion-capture suit] and squat down to be at the level Finley would be to provide a point of reference for characters.

What was wearing the motion-capture suit like?

Well, everyone else had these beautiful, handmade period costumes. I had to wear the blue onesie, which was not at all forgiving. You get over how you look eventually, though, and it becomes like theatre, almost.

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